chary: hesitant; cautious
conflagration: blazing fire
droll: having a humorous, whimsical, or odd quality
ecclesiastical: of or relating to a church
edifying: providing moral instruction or improvement
fetters: chains or shackles for the feet
infallible: incapable of error
interment: burying a body in the earth or in a tomb
jocose: joking; playful
languidly: weakly; sluggishly
magnates: persons of rank, power, influence, or distinction
malignity: ill will; viciousness
meritorious: deserving of honor or esteem
obsequious: showing a fawning attentiveness
pallor: paleness in the face
paroxysm: a sudden violent emotion or action
patronage: kindness asserted with an air of superiority
peals: loud sounds heard in succession; often used to describe bells, laughter, or thunder
1. What role does Mr. Wopsle perform in a play? Why does Pip feel sorry for him?
Mr. Wopsle plays Hamlet. Pip feels sorry for Wopsle because the audience heckles him for much of the play and because Wopsle considers himself to be a more gifted actor than Pip finds him to be.
2. Where does Wemmick take Pip before Pip meets Estella? Describe the extended metaphor Pip uses to describe Wemmick and the place they visit.
Wemmick gives Pip a tour of Newgate prison where many of Mr. Jaggers’s clients are imprisoned. Pip compares Wemmick to a gardener in his greenhouse. Pip watches Wemmick move among the cells discovering who has turned up in the prison just as a gardener might look at his plant collection to discover new sprouts. When Wemmick and Pip meet a condemned man, Pip continues the metaphor by musing that a condemned man is to Wemmick like a dead plant that will soon be replaced.
3. On his visit, how does Wemmick use his “guiding-star” philosophy about portable property?
He secures a promise of a pair of pigeons from the condemned soldier.
4. What is the unwelcome significance for Pip of encountering prison and crime as part of his London experience?
Pip hoped to leave behind the association with crime and convicts that had been part of his common country life. His earliest memory is his encounter with the convict in the churchyard, and his encounters with Mr. Jaggers’s job and clients make him feel that he is not done with the secrets and fears of his childhood. He has a sense that the “taint of prison and crime” on his life is “like a stain that was faded but not gone.”
(The entire section is 1168 words.)